Killing weeds isn’t always as simple as pouring some weed killer or herbicide, weeds can be incredibly resilient and difficult to kill. Because of this many people have turned to using bleach as a makeshift weed killer but should you and does it even work?
Well, let's cover whether it works first, shall we? If you pour bleach on weeds it will kill the majority of them, after all not many things can live after being covered in bleach. But just because it will kill most weeds doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to use it. After all bleach is not exactly the safest of chemicals is it?
The Dangers Involved
Using bleach as a weed killer is risky for two main reasons, first, there are the health concerns involved for you and environment in general. Secondly there are also possible legal issues that come with using it. First of all, let’s take a look at the health risks of using bleach as a weed killer.
Bleach in any form (and there’s a surprisingly large range of bleaches available) is a hazardous chemical. It will go right down to a weeds roots and kill them, but it will also kill pretty much everything it touches along the way. This means it will cause harm to any soil, insects or plant life it comes into contact with.
If you don’t apply the bleach carefully you could end up doing a lot of damage to your garden and have to spend a lot of money fixing it. While killing insects is something regular herbicides can do as well, you have to consider whether it’s worth it just to get rid of some stubborn weeds. If you care about the local wildlife then there are safer less harmful alternatives as well.
Another issue you have to think about is your pets, if they often stay around your garden then you don’t want them to come into contact with bleach affected earth, the same goes for young children. Bleach also as harmful fumes and can cause rashes and skin irritations as well, so if you are planning on using it make sure you wear the correct safety equipment.
Bleach may also be prohibited from being used as a weed killer, depending on where you live it may be against the law or terms of your lease to use bleach outdoors at all. So make sure you check with your local authority before you go ahead and use it.
Using Bleach Safely
If you are able and allowed to use bleach as a weed killer then make sure you use it correctly and carefully. Gloves are a must and you should also consider glasses or goggles as well, if the bleach is in a spray then you can use it directly, but you could also dilute the bleach with some water first.
Spray the bleach into cracks and paving is a great way to stop weeds from sprouting again, but make sure you keep the spray away from any water sources or features like ponds or fountains. Wait for a clear day before you use it and then if you have pets or young children keep them out of the garden for a day at least.
Bleach is certainly a powerful weed killer but it won’t work on everything, if you are having an infestation of tough weeds like ivy or brambles then not even bleach will be able to kill them. Bleach is still a very versatile weed killer though, but if you want to use make sure you follow proper safety procedures. You will need a strong weed killer to remove them completely.
If you have weeds growing between paving in the garden, an effective way to remove a lot if it is to use a good pressure washer which will get rid of a lot of the surface weeds. Do use caution with this method as depending on the type of paving you have the high pressure could cause damage to the surface. Check out our guide on lawn moss killer here.
I am the editor of Lawn Mower Hut and produce most of the content on the site. I have over 25 years experience in the gardening industry and have worked in multiple roles throughout that time. My passions are gardening and golfing. If you have any questions please get in touch I will be happy to help.